Some students may conflate 'charge' with 'a charged particle'

Electricity and Magnetism


This can be exacerbated by some teaching materials (and teachers) talking about 'a charge' when they mean 'a charged particle'.

Diagnostic Resources

The following worksheets may help to identify whether students hold this particular misconception.

For more information, see the University of York EPSE website.

Resources to Address This

  • Where do the Charges Come From? (11-14)

    Source - SPT/ El01TL03

    This resource looks at how to explain the presence of 'charged particles' in electric circuits.

    View Resource
  • Episode 102: Current as a flow of charge (16-19)

    Source - TAP/ Electricity/ Electric current/ ...

    Start by reminding your students of the nature of electric charge. They should be familiar with the concept of charge from pre-16 science course. Remind them that this is a fundamental property of some types of particles.

    View Resource


The following studies have documented this misconception:

  • Kibble, B. () How do you picture electricity? Physics Education, 34 (4),


    Review sheet

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